Perinatal Depression is a medical condition. Leaving medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes untreated causes health complications. The same is true for Perinatal Depression.
Women who experience depression during pregnancy may be less likely to be mindful of good prenatal care and nutrition, and are more likely to have a premature delivery, restricted fetal growth and infants with low birth weight, and problems with breastfeeding and bonding with their infant. There is also a heighten risk of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.
Studies have shown that babies born to depressed mothers cry excessively and are more inconsolable, have poorer growth and increased risk of infection, and have more difficult temperaments as children with more distress, sadness, fear, shyness, and frustration . Additionally, there are potential long term effects for children of mothers with untreated depression such as issues with cognitive development, problems in school, behavioral problems, and depression.
Perinatal Depression can also wreak havoc in the family dynamics. It may impair communication between partners and even may contribute to depression in the mother’s partner as well.
Perinatal Depression may lead to self-harm, suicide, or harming of the baby if left untreated. It is important to catch perinatal depression early and receive treatment in order to minimize any of the complications.